By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
You can’t get rid of Utah. The back to back Pac-12 champions are coming off of a game winning field goal down in Los Angeles against USC last week, and unsurprisingly the Utes are right in the thick of the Pac-12 conference championship picture.
This week Utah hosts Oregon in what is bound to be a tremendous game of clashing styles. Dan Lanning is looking for a bounce back after two weeks ago when the Ducks lost a heartbreaker up in Seattle against Washington.
On Monday Lanning addressed the media in his weekly press conference. Lanning says that Utah coach Kyle Whittingham is one of the best in the business, and this season Whittingham is doing some incredible things.
“The amount of injuries that they’ve dealt with, and for him to utilize defensive personnel on offense, shuffle positions, and utilize offensive lineman as tight ends I think is really impressive,” said Lanning. “Everyone’s always known he’s a great coach.”
Speaking of injuries, quarterback Cam Rising has been out all season long due to a knee injury making backup Bryson Barnes the starting quarterback. Barnes, who Coach Whittingham described as a “pig farmer”, led the Utes to a win at USC last week. Lanning says Barnes is a talented player who is getting more comfortable.
“I think he’s getting more and more comfortable each week. What you appreciate as a football guy watching him play is that guy plays tough. He’s fighting for yards there at the end of the game to put their team in position to win. He took some big hits and got up and kept playing. He’s impressive. He’s dangerous as a runner. He’s done a good job passing the ball. He gotten more efficient each week. They do a great job putting him in position and utilizing his talents.”
It will be the second time in three weeks College Gameday will be at the Oregon game. Last time Gameday was in Seattle for the Washington vs. Oregon game. This week Gameday will be in Utah. Lanning gives credit to both schools and the fans of Utah for providing a great atmosphere that lends itself to College Gameday.
“I think it will be a great environment. I know that they get loud there. I know that they love their team. So it should be a lot of fun for us. I think that speaks to the job Utah’s done this year and the job we’ve done this year to put ourselves in that position and to have Gameday there.”
According to betonling.ag the Ducks are a -7 favorite on the road against Utah on Saturday. Both teams have one loss in Pac-12 play heading in to the highly anticipated game.
Don’t miss John Canzano’s preview and pick on the game this week on the Bald Faced Truth, afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.